South County People’s Kitchen set to move into new home

clambert@thetribunenews.comJuly 24, 2013 

South County People’s Kitchen, which provides a daily hot noontime meal to the homeless and others in need, will soon move to a new location in Grover Beach.

People’s Kitchen President Betsy Ehrler said she hopes the nonprofit organization will be able to start serving soon at 286 South 16th St. in a county-owned lot behind a county health department office and the (currently closed) San Luis Obispo Superior Court Grover Beach branch.

People’s Kitchen is currently waiting to obtain a temporary use permit from the city of Grover Beach so it can operate in the new location. The city’s planning commission is then tentatively scheduled to consider the organization’s request for a conditional use permit at its Sept. 10 meeting.

For perhaps the next week, People’s Kitchen will continue to serve meals at Shouts of Grace Church, located at 675 W. Grand Ave.

The church has provided space for volunteers for nearly five years but has moved its Sunday services to the Clark Center for the Performing Arts in Arroyo Grande and can’t accommodate People’s Kitchen, which needs to move by the end of the month.

Grover Beach Police Chief Jim Copsey said Tuesday the temporary use permit has not yet been approved but he believes the goal is to do so before the end of the month to avoid disrupting People’s Kitchen’s service.

A temporary permit can be approved by the city’s community development director, but the conditional use permit will have to go to the planning commission. As part of the temporary permit, People’s Kitchen will need to install fencing around their serving site.

“They’ve been very cooperative in working with the city to make it successful,” Copsey said of the organization.

People’s Kitchen has moved a half-dozen times since volunteers started serving meals out of the back of a truck near the railroad tracks in Grover Beach in 1992.

Eventually, People’s Kitchen organizers hope to have a permanent home as part of a community center that would also offer housing assistance, job training, drug and alcohol services, mental health counseling and other services.

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